This is one of those things that always raises an eyebrow for me… a mammoth sunspot capable of producing X-class flares, one of which could potentially knock us back to the stone age. It’s like watching someone wielding a gun, and the gun is being brought around and trained on you (me). I just hope it doesn’t go boom.
Over the past few years I’ve posted on various sunspot and solar activity that has come and gone, and this one is worthy of another. It’s big. It’s bad. And it’s rotating into direct line-of-sight with us here on earth.
The thing is, we don’t know when one of these is going to fire a kill shot at us. There have been plenty of flares and CME’s that have fired at us over the years, but once in a while, one of them fires off a gargantuan blob of highly charged plasma and radiation – enough to potentially take down our power grids in a semi-permanent fashion. Long enough to affect hundred of millions of us in a very bad way.
Scientists totally agree that the sun WILL do this again. And in fact they admit it could happen at nearly anytime (or it may be another 50 years). The problem is, we are coming up on the 11-year solar cycle maximum which is due to peak later in 2012 and in 2013. The overall odds are not in our favor as we approach this time period, and today (and the rest of this week) looks just as risky, given sunspot 1476.
SOLAR ACTIVITY INTENSIFIES: Huge sunspot AR1476 is crackling with M-class solar flares and appears to be on the verge of producing something even stronger. The sunspot’s ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field harbors energy for X-class flares, the most powerful kind. Earth is entering the line of fire as the sunspot rotates across the face of the sun.
You may think that it’s silly to consider the entire power grid being blown out (more specifically the transformers within the grid), and even more so you may think that it’s silly to consider that the power could be out for months or a year or more! Because we are so accustomed to our local power company restoring power within hours of a storm (or perhaps days), we think that they will be able to do the same in this case.
The reality is, there is no way in he$$ that they will be able to do so, should such an event occur (similar to the 1859 Carrington event). It will take a potentially very long time to replace thousands upon untold thousands of transformers, the most difficult of which will be the EHV transformers which have manufacturing lead times of 1 to 2 years (that’s when the power is up and running!)
The modern world will descend into violent and desperate chaos and your lives will never be the same again. I highly recommend that you read the book, One Second After, written by someone who did their research on the subject of EMP and in fact has been in front of congressional committees regarding the same. It’s very scary stuff, and it could happen to you and me.
Seeing this huge sunspot 1476 reminds me yet again how we are vulnerable in our high tech world that 100% depends upon electricity as it’s life blood. The sun gives life, but it can also take it away. Are you prepared?
Update, May 10/11
Sunspot 1476 is not only enormous, but is pointing straight us. How ominous is that?
Sunspot 1476 Flare History (so far)
sourced from Australian Gov’t IPS Radio and Space Services